Anxiety: Facts, symptoms and ways to overcome it
Feeling anxiety is what we feel when we are worried, nervous, on edge, or afraid about things that may happen now or in the future. People usually experience feelings of worry or fear before confronting challenging situations such as sitting an exam or interview, and these feelings are perfectly normal. It can be experienced through your feelings, in your thoughts or physically. Research shows that anxiety is the root cause of fear.
The causes of anxiety can range from environmental factors, lifestyle to genetics and are commonly triggered by high levels of stress.
If you have experienced a traumatic event from your past or childhood, this could be a key factor and the cause of your anxiety, these experiences may include: being bullied, abused, neglected or due to the death of a loved one. In addition, the relationships that you are in may be creating stress whether it be a personal, professional relationship, friendship, marriage or divorce. Problems arising in these relationships can be causing you mental distress leading to anxiety or even depression.
General Anxiety disorder (GAD) is becoming increasingly more common and can be very difficult to manage if you are not aware of your triggers. This disorder can become problematic if you find it difficult to control thing s that worry you. Hence, it very important to continuously be aware of the stressor, which could lead to anxiety if not managed
Your environmental situation at work or at home can make you feel stressed and pressurised, resulting in you wanting to avoid the situations that you are in. You may be working long hours or feeling lonely and isolated from the world which can create the feeling of unease and fear. You may find that the issues in your life are affecting your mental state such as financial and housing problems or not being able to find work.
The environment that you are in can have an impact on your stress levels and the pressure that you are feeling. This may be due to a situation at home or in your job such as when working long hours. As a result, you may feel lonely or isolated from your surroundings which can create the feeling of unease and fear. Issues in your life which can range from financial problems to unemployment can also affect your mental health which may be a cause of your anxiety or stress.
It may be out of your control as a family history of anxiety can also increase the chances of someone developing and suffering from anxiety disorders. However, it can also be a result of biochemical imbalances which affect the control and regulation of your mood.
Anxiety can also be a side effect of taking medication or from drug and alcohol consumption.
- Variations of anxiety can include GAD, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, agoraphobia, specific phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
- Anxiety can be hereditary, where you are approximately five times more likely to develop GAD if you have a close relative with the condition.
- GAD is a common condition which is estimated to affect up to 5% of the UK population where 3 million people are affected by an anxiety disorder.
- Women tend to be more affected than men and it is more common in people who are aged 35 to 59.
- 615 million people suffered from anxiety or depression in 2013.
- Anxiety is one of the most common mental health disorders that people experience in the UK and is the most common form of mental illness in the United States.
Being able to recognise the symptoms of anxiety enables you to find the best solution to overcome it. It can be identified by physical and psychological symptoms where it can vary for everyone. Some of the symptoms that characterise anxiety include:
List of physical symptoms:
- tension /not being able to relax
- hot flushes
- constantly feeling on edge
- increased heart rate
- increase muscle tension
- difficulty in breathing
- heart palpitations
- shortness of breath
- shaking or trembling
- lack of concentration
- feeling detached to people and your environment
- feeling on edge and alert
- difficulties in concentrating
Ways to overcome anxiety:
- It is important to remember that there are always ways to overcome anxiety and should you feel that it is impacting a large part of your life, to seek help. Seeing your GP can be useful in finding the best form of treatment for you.
- You can also help yourself by talking about your thoughts and feelings to someone you trust or trainee professional such as a counsellor which can help to relieve your worries and feelings of loneliness.
- Relaxation/breathing exercises can also help in making you feel more in control, calmer and relaxed.
- Self-help courses, group counselling, CBT are available to help you to cope with your anxiety.
- Adding in exercise to your daily routine may help where a simple walk can alleviate the tension and stress built up from your environment. You may find that you will be able to sleep better helping to put you in a better mood.
- Making changes in your daily habits such as reducing your caffeine or alcohol intake can also contribute to helping you to overcome these feelings.
Research shows that smoking increases anxiety and tension and those who smoke are more likely to develop anxiety disorders. Try to get some support to quit smoking and you may discover an improvement in your mood and concentration.
Being able to acknowledge that you have anxiety can help drive you to find ways in which you can overcome that feeling of unease and stop letting it affect the way you live. There are many people in this world who are feeling the same way and it is important to remember that you are not alone.
If you are finding it difficult to overcome anxiety alone, it may be effective to seek help from experts. Psychological therapy can be useful in helping you to figure out what the root of your anxiety is and ways in which you can treat it. Psychotherapists are professionals who are trained to listen to your problems and help you with your struggles. You can also get counselling or go for group therapy. Speaking to someone is a great way to understand your problems and to know that you are not alone.
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